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From the Ground Up

Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you can spend the pause of the holidays to be with friends and loved ones recharging for the year ahead. Christmas is about hope and joy. It is a reminder that despite all our problems we can overcome and build a happy life for our family.


I know this because this is the story of my life. A life that I hope can inspire more people to nurture their passion with hard work and perseverance, to take a giant leap of faith, and build a better future for their families and this country.


In my case, that giant leap of faith came in the form of a second-hand red truck which I bought using a P10,000 loan. You can see the actual restored red truck on display at Starmall Alabang. That truck is a symbol of the turning point in my life.


I left the corporate world to pursue my first business as a supplier of seafood for restaurants in Manila. It didn’t work because when his clients couldn’t pay me their dues, I just had them sell meal tickets which helped them pay off the seafood deliveries. I never gave up. I knew that success comes with perseverance and hard work.


So armed with that loan and a gung-ho attitude, I used the reconditioned trucks I bought to haul gravel and sand for BF Homes in Paranaque City. I was 25 years old and the owner of Metro Gravel and Sand. I had no budget for marketing and sales so I would often go around areas where houses are being constructed and I would offer them my services.


While doing the deliveries, I was able to familiarize myself with the trade and slowly learned the business of building and developing houses. I never planned on being a real estate businessman but I was convinced that I should be an entrepreneur whether it be putting up a bakeshop, trucking, or even selling spare parts.


This was how I got started in this industry. I saw how houses were being built and how the business of developing houses worked.


My first client was an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) whose house was located at BF Resort. Seeing the need of the people for affordable housing, I decided to build small houses and created Camella. I also pursued my strategy of offering house and lot packages instead of offering just lots, which was the norm at that time.


People discouraged me then, telling me that not too many homebuyers would want to purchase a small house. But luck was on my side and I stumbled on the perfect formula. The rest, as they say, is history.


That red truck set me on the way to becoming an entrepreneur. So I was very happy and became very nostalgic when I saw it. In a way, that reconditioned truck is a symbol of determination. It was an old truck nearing the end of its life but it was reborn and became an instrument of hope. Rather than becoming scrap it was put to good use and helped accomplish the dream of Manny Villar.


I hope this is one of the things we take away this Christmas season. There is hope for a better life. That hope is anchored on your vision and the hard work and persistence to make that ideal a reality.


From my family to your family, Maligayang Pasko po sa inyong lahat!